Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Slow Down

We are big fans of slow Saturdays or slow weekends anytime we can get them.  

I know from friend's posts on social media that weekends are BUSY for lots of people.  

One friend posted that they had 4+ sports games to attend on Saturday, another friend was too busy to get our kids together for weeks and another friends posted that they did about ten different events on the weekends with their family.  There's nothing wrong with any of those examples, but my family does not thrive with that kind of nonstop, on the go schedule.

We intentionally slow down.

We sign up for things sparingly.  

Plan a few things to do for the weekend.  

Don't set early alarms if we can help it.  

Go to church on Sunday mornings.

Plan to be home together as much as possible.  

And that's okay.  Actually, it's GREAT!  

You don't have to schedule your family to the max.

I like to fix big breakfasts on the weekends.  Play outside with the kids.  Go for bike rides.  Go for walks.  Do art projects.  Read.  Get take out for dinner.  Grill.  Hang out with friends.  And give our kids time to play together.  We add in things like a trip to the zoo, ocassionally head out of town, sporting events and such.  It is just not enjoyable for us to be gone from home as much as possible.  

I hope that's encouraging to you as you are looking ahead to Summer schedules and the pressure to sign your kids up for every camp, every experience and every outing.  I bet your kids would enjoy some down time in their schedules, not have to be rushed from point A to B and would enjoy just getting to be home with you!

I made pancakes one morning and muffins the next.  The kids love to help with a big breakfast.

I keep this Hungry Jack Light and Fluffy pancake mix on hand at all times.  You just add water and end up with the yummiest, fluffiest pancakes!

How's your schedule looking for Summer?  Leo wants to encourage you to build some down time into your Summer routines!

Monday, April 29, 2024

Hosting A Simple Lunch with Friends

Have you wanted to make lunch plans with friends, but something is holding you back?

Maybe it's the expense of going out to eat?

Maybe it's the trouble of going to a restaurant with kids?

Maybe you don't have any great lunch spots near your house?

Take this as your sign to host your friends at your house!

Leo and I hosted our friends for lunch last week and it went so well!  I made the easiest menu - simple foods, my go to dessert of chocolate chips cookies and the kids played.  It wasn't expensive or a ton of work.  I tidied up the house just like I do for any company.  It was low key and easy.

I love these navy gingham melamine plates and have a stash of napkins that go perfectly with them.  I grab them anytime I see a pattern that would go with navy gingham at places like HomeGoods.  That way I'm ready to host down the road.  Cute plates and napkins instantly makes a meal feel pulled together.  I added a table runner to the table.

I wanted fresh flowers, but didn't want to run to the store to get them or spend the money on fresh flowers.  I opted to head outside to our yard and cut a bouquet of honey suckle.  It kind of feels like the perfect Midwest bouquet and it looked really pretty on my table.

There were just 4 of us so I made a tiny fruit salad, a veggie plate, chicken salad for the moms and PBJs for the kids with a side of salty crackers/chips.

The moms loved this chicken salad.  It's my go to recipe.

2 cans of shredded chicken drained and shredded
1 cup of grapes halved
1 apple diced up
1/2 cup of pecans
3 T Spicy brown mustard 
1/2 c Duke's Mayo

Mix until everything is well coated.  Refrigerate and serve with crackers, crusty bread or croissants.  

Easiest meal ever!  The whole meal probably cost me around $15.  That is way less than what it would have cost for us to go out to eat.

Cookies for dessert and I sent the extras home with our friends.

The moms chatted and the kids played.  We had a great time together!

Here's a nudge from me to you - invite your favorite friends over to your house!!  Breakfast or lunch guests feel like less pressure than dinner guests.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you've had a nice week.  No complaints here!

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

Easy Homemade Pico - the best way to make taco night feel special!

Leo is Four

Happy Campers - a really fun double birthday party for the boys!

Now onto the highlights of the week:

1. Days with Leo.  I'm soaking up our last few weeks of Mommy/Leo time before Summer starts.  Next fall he'll be headed to PreK several days a week so we are enjoying our days together. 

2. Costco.  We went with my parents to Costco and found seveal fun things to try.  We tried a delicious salsa, sourdough bread, popsicles, produce and more.  We did not come home with this giant Squishmallow much to Olive's dismay.

3. We met a friend for lunch at Jason's Deli.  It's our favorite.  Leo loves pasta and ice cream at Jason's Deli.  I love their salad bar.

4. Kites.  We had some really windy days that were perfect for kite flying.

5. Snack plate lunches are perfect for kids and adults.  It's my favorite lunch when the weather gets warm.

6. Every spare second of free time this week was spent assembling our new swing set.  We started last Saturday thinking it surely wouldn't take that long to assemble, but hours and hours and hours and almost a week later my dad and Kevin got it done. I helped a little, but mostly just kept an eye on Leo and kept everyone fed.  The kids are SO excited about their new play set!  I'll come back with more details about it after we've had it for a few weeks :)

7. Meow.  I had to snap a picture of this cat meeting.  They were all chasing the sunniest spots in the house and it landed them in the kitchen.  Topher will be 15 this Summer!!  Penny & Pearl our dilute calico sisters will turn 4 in September.  Olive is sure that 4 cats would be the perfect number for us.

8. Bike training.  Leo has been practicing and learning how to ride his new bike.  He's doing great minus one full speed trashcan encounter.

9. These two love to stroll through the aisles of Sams and sample the samples.  I did enjoy visiting Costco, but we love shopping at Sams.

10. Fletcher is always asking me to snap pictures of him doing cool things.  Example: Fletcher and the moon.

11. We spent the day at Christmas Lake with my parents over Spring break.  It was a little chilly and a little windy, but we had a great day.  We ate a yummy lunch at Frostys (watch out for the spicy cheese curds!! but the rest of the meal was yummy!) and we played outside a ton.  The kids are ready to go back and swim or hike or explore.

12. Fairy garden supplies!  I grabbed a few new fairy garden houses for our fairy garden set up this year.  Dollar Tree has the cutest houses this year.  You can't beat the prices and the assortment is so good this year.  Take this as your sign to build a fairy garden this year!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with Momfessionals

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Happy Campers

We celebrated Fletcher turning 8 and Leo turning 4 with HAPPY CAMPER themed birthday parties!  

Their birthdays are just ten days apart so it makes the most sense to gather our families together one weekend to celebrate both boys.  We both have big families that all live nearby so we host my family one night and Kevin's family another night.  Usually back to back nights.  Fletcher likes to pick the theme and Leo couldn't care less.  But both boys had thoughts on the menu.  Perfect combo.  Fletcher mentioned a camping theme for this year and it turned out so cute!  We used tons of things we already had so it was probably my most affordable party decorations ever.

Years 4 and 8 are going to be great!

I texted out invitations that I made for free on Canva to our family and they turned out so cute!

Fletcher was SO excited to help me gather camping decorations.  He cut me tons of logs, branches and made sure I had plenty of supplies.  He also shared his rock collection and some other favorite things for party decor.  I printed out pictures horseback riding and had them on display.  They were perfect party decor and I can hang them up after the party is done.

Party banners were crazy expensive so I made my own.

Coolest rock collection made a great centerpiece.

Party favors and woodland creatures.

The solar eclipse was just a few days after the party so we did eclipse themed treat bags for all the cousins.

One night we did cookies, cupcakes and brownies for dessert!

The boys wore matching gone fishing tshirts.

Kevin took care of dinner - pizzas and breadsticks - and I just put together some fruits, veggies and chips.  Easy peasy!  If you remember this was the same week that our neighborhood was hit by a tornado.  That happened on a Tuesday and we hosted the boy's parties on Friday/Saturday.  It was a wild week, but I was so thank to be able to host.

Best great grandmas ever!

Tools, Lincoln logs, Play-Doh and more.  They loved their gifts!

Then we did a Chick-Fil-A inspired dinner the second night - chicken tenders, nuggets, tator tots, Wisconsin Cowboy Beans and sides.  The meal was a big hit with kids and adults.

Since I did a lot of cooking for the meal, I hit the easy button on dessert.  I grabbed these bite sized cheese cake variety box from Sams and everyone loved it.  We also did a s'mores station for the kids and some cookies.

We had lots of fun making s'mores and the weather was perfect.  Olive is always a trooper through all the boy's birthday festivities being a helfpul big sister.  It's a lot of attention on the boys, but her birthday is up next in May.

Cute cousin crew on my side.

We had the best tiem celebrating the boys with our families!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Leo is FOUR

 Leo turned four on April 7th and we had a really fun time celebrating him.  We tried to do all of his favorite things - church in the morning with his buddies, his favorite foods and lots of playing outside.

Leo loves cookies, Hawaiian Rolls, french fries, apples and vanilla ice cream.  He enjoys doing puzzles, cutting paper, benig read to and sitting on mom.  He leans towards the bossy side so we jokingly call him Boss Baby.  He loves to play outside, plays hard, everyone fights to be his favorite and he heads to PreK this Fall.  Babies don't keep!

He requested cookies and vanilla ice cream for his birthday treat.

We woke up early to open gifts wrapped in his favorite Paw Patrol buddies.

This sweet guy has been without a set of wheels for over a month and he was SO excited to get a new bike for his birthday!

His birthday was the day where we spotted 8 rainbows in our backyard.  We had to stop and snap some pictures with the birthday boy and the rainbows.

Happy Birthday, Leo!  Year 4 is going to be fun!